So the Cubs finally did it. They won the World Series after 108 years. Our family lived on the North Side of Chicago for many years, and Harold has been a diehard Chicago Cubs fan for pretty much his whole life. We grew up rooting for the Cubbies, no matter how much they sucked. We loved going to Wrigley Field and hanging out in Wrigleyville. It is just such an exciting area to be. So as you can imagine, this was an extremely exciting year for Cubs fans like us. Especially for Cubs fans like Harold who have been waiting a very long time for this moment.
When the day of the parade was announced, my boyfriend and I very spontaneously decided to buy plane tickets on Thursday morning for a Thursday afternoon flight to O’Hare. We basically raced to the airport and figured we would buy clothes and amenities when we got there. Friday was the parade and rally. There were 5 MILLION people in Chicago for the parade and rally. It is estimated that it was the seventh largest gathering in human history! How crazy!
One of the best cities in the world is Chicago, IL. Okay we might be a little biased as this is our hometown. But Chicago is great city to visit with lots to offer. We recently spent the weekend here and had a great time. Since we live in Florida now, it was fun getting to be tourists! Here is our itinerary for 3 days in Chicago. Obviously you could spend much more time here, but if all you have time for is a quick weekend getaway then this is a great way to see some of the highlights of the city.
We flew in really early on a Saturday into Midway Airport. Our flight actually landed at 8:30AM so we had pretty much the entire day to explore. We spent our first day in the Millennium Park area. It was such a gorgeous day we wandered around Millennium Park, Grant Park, and Museum Campus. Millennium Park is where you can take the famous selfie with The Bean. (The Bean’s official name is ‘Cloudgate’ but nobody actually calls it that.) We then walked down to Grant Park to see Buckingham Fountain. The lakefront looked so beautiful that we strolled along the path until we got down to the Museum Campus. This is where the Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, and Field Museum are located. Right next door is Soldier Field where the Chicago Bears play. We did so much the first day we were exhausted!
This is a follow-up to our Top 3 Must-Do’s in Sarasota post! There are so many great things to do in this small city on the Suncoast. After you’ve hit the main areas in Sarasota, you definitely have to check out these other great places in our beautiful city that we are lucky to now call home.
The John & Mable Ringling Museum is one of our favorite places to go in Sarasota. The museum features two great sections, the circus museums and the art museum. We wrote a post about what to see and do at Ringling because it is so great!
Marie Selby Gardens
Marie Selby Gardens are located on the bay, right near downtown Sarasota which makes for gorgeous views while you are walking around the grounds. Some of the highlights are the Conservatory which features an array of tropical plants, Bamboo Garden, Banyan Grove, and the Children’s Gardens. Check out their website for more information.
Anna Maria Island is actually about a 45 minute drive from Sarasota but is so worth it. This is a quant, charming area to walk around with excellent ocean views and no tall buildings or chain retailers allowed. You can even see the cruise ships departing from Tampa on certain evenings around sunset. Check out our post on how to make the most of your time in AMI!
I have a confession to make. Every once in a while I make my down I4, past Disney World, to Universal Studios Orlando. I never had any desire to go to Universal Studios until they opened The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Even the first couple times I went to the park I only went to the Harry Potter section. Finally I went and spent the day at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. I had such a great time and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
Never mind how amazingly, awesomely, fantastic The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (separate post on this to come later) is and how that revitalized Universal Studios Orlando, the rest of the two parks and City Walk are really worth seeing as well. Universal definitely has the thrill rides. They actually have some really interesting and innovative rides that use technology for a very thrilling experience. I also enjoy walking around both parks as they each have their own interesting theming. Universal Studios has different city-themed areas (New York and San Francisco) while Island of Adventure has different themed islands like Dr. Suess, Marvel, and the Lost Continent.
Anna Maria is a barrier island about seven miles in length located south of Tampa Bay and in Manatee County on the west coast of Florida. It is an absolute treasure that is geographically stunning with gorgeous blue waters and sandy beaches accessible only by fabulous bridge crossings. This “Island in the Sun” was originally used for hunting and fishing by various Indian tribes and was not inhabited by permanent residents until the 1890s. Anna Maria preserves the feel of old Florida while still feeling fresh with charming restaurants, shops and entertainment. The island is broken up into the three cities of Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach and Anna Maria City that each seamlessly blend together.
Traveling Gals Tip: Always check local events calendars to see what special events are going on in the area during your stay!
Anna Maria City is farthest north on the island. The bay side has views of St. Petersburg and the striking Sunshine Skyway Bridge. A highlight of Anna Maria City is Pine Avenue. This street is lined with cute shops and restaurants and ends at the bay leading onto the City Pier. This pier and the next pier over “The Rod and Reel” both have great restaurants. These are also the piers where the locals fish. It is great chatting with the amateur fisherman and grabbing a bite afterwards. Plus you can’t beat the scenery! The hidden gem of Anna Maria City is Bean Point. Bean Point is the northernmost tip of the island where the Gulf of Mexico meets Tampa Bay. It is nestled past the City Pier in a residential neighborhood. Its entrance is a tree lined path between two residences and you can only park on the street. It is a serene oasis and the perfect place to watch the sunset as the cruise ships go by on their way out to the Gulf. You may have to ask directions, but it is worth it when you find it!
HO’OKALAKUPUA of Polynesian Village for Labor Day Weekend hoʻokalakupua = magic Polynesian Village is the ultimate in combining the magic of Disney and the magic of Hawaii! We were lucky enough to spend Labor Day weekend at the Polynesian Village. In some ways, due to all the upgrades it feels like a brand new resort. … Read More
Top 3 Things To-Do In Sarasota, FL Post by Ashley We moved from Chicago to Sarasota about 6 years ago. Although we love the big city, we hate cold weather and were looking for a change of scenery. While Sarasota may not be on your radar when you think of Florida, this small city has… Read More